Some people, when they finally achieve a long-chased after dream, cop a welcoming hug or a firm handshake of congratulations from their families. Some get a nice gift or commemorative memento of the occasion. Others, like Kiwi rugby gun Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, have their family come to stadium to not only watch them play, but perform a special, emotionally-charged haka for them in the stands.
23-year-old Tahuriorangi made his long-awaited All Blacks debut this past weekend, coming off the bench late in the second half in New Zealand’s clash against Argentina in Nelson, on New Zealand’s south island; a game the host nation came away the victor thanks to a 46-24 drubbing.
Following the game, Tahuriorangi’s family – who had travelled down from Rotorua for the match – greeted him in the stands with a very personal and very moving rendition of the haka, honouring the young man’s debut and his upbringing.
The moment was all the more special, given Tahuriorangi’s grandmother passed away in the days leading up to his All Blacks debut.
Tahuriorangi spoke to Maori Television following the debut, and expressed how much having his family at the game meant.
For them to make the trip all the way down from Rotorua, it just makes the debut extra special. It was just an awesome feeling. To get that kind of haka just personifies where I come from, a little area where not much people make it out. I’m carrying all my whanau from back home.
Onya, young fella. Here’s to a solid and long career with the All Blacks.